Brenda Wardle at the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimea Court on Thursday. PHOTO: Raahil Sain/ANA

Port Elizabeth - The case against Brenda Wardle, charged with fraud involving over a half a million rand, was once again postponed in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court on Thursday. 

Wardle’s trial was meant to get underway on Thursday but she brought an application for a postponement pending an application at the city’s high court. 

The matter, which has yet to be set down, involves Wardle seeking relief against the Minister of Correctional Services for adequate facilities at prison. This in order for her to prepare for trial. 

She claims that facilities at the prison are inadequate and untenable, which prohibits her from preparing for her criminal trial. 

Wardle, 56, and who is conducting her own defence, was arrested in East London in June last year after evading court for more than a year.

According to the State, during April 2009 and August 2013, Wardle was paid R538,766 to assist Stephanus van Aardt for his early release on parole.

According to the indictment, Wardle “falsely and with intent to defraud gave out and pretended to Van Aardt” that she was an attorney and she would bring an application for his early release.

According to the State, Van Aardt, an Eastern Cape dairy farmer in Somerset East, was not eligible to have his term of imprisonment converted.

State prosecutor Tjaart Van Zyl argued on Thursday that Wardle's case had been coming on for a long time and the matter had been postponed several times. 

Van Zyl said that the State had made arrangements for her to be held in a single cell in order to help her prepare for trial. 

He told the court that the State also arranged for Wardle to be brought to court to obtain legal books for her preparation. 

“This was refused by her..we tried to get her to prepare, we went to photostat sections for her. This was refused by her,” said Van Zyl.

Van Zyl asked the court that Wardle be made to plead, and if she refused to do so, the court declare a not guilty plea and the matter proceed to trial. 

However, Magistrate Johannes Claassen disagreed with the State and said the matter at the Port Elizabeth High Court needed to be finalised. 

He postponed her trial provisionally to March 22.

African News Agency/ANA